Research shows that loss of grey matter (neuron cells) where nerve signals are processed in the brain is higher in people with Bipolar Disorder. It is not certain whether it is the cause or the result of the disease. Researchers point out that it is more likely a cause to bipolar disorder and external factors like stress or strain leads to brain changes causing decline to brain function. It is found to cause loss of brain tissue in the areas controlling memory, face recognition and co-ordination.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness of extreme moods. There is a recent South Indian movie in which the hero is seen swirling in the hands of Bipolar Disorder causing extreme pain to his mother and beloved. The mood instability shown by the hero stuns the heroine. Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depression or manic-depressive illness as manic behavior and depression are its major characteristics. Bipolar disorder patients also a carry a suicidal tendency and it is quite frightening to the family of the patient as his mood swings may last for weeks or months. This may affect both the children and adults. But not to lose hope, science has effective treatment for this disorder which enables the patient to live merrily.
Bipolar disorder not only affects a person’s mood but also his energy and ability to function. We all have mood fluctuations. Some are more sensitive and easily crying while some others exhibit intense and uncontrollable anger. We also have very serene people who hardly show their emotions. While these are normal to human beings, people with Bipolar disorder show severe mood fluctuations.
Someone with maniac-depression may have these symptoms and more. These may show up in different episodes of mania and depression.
- Increased energy, activity and restlessness
- Extreme euphoric mood
- Extreme irritability and aggressiveness
- Speedy thoughts and talks changing from one idea to another.
- Lack of good judgement
- An increased sexual drive
- Lasting unhappiness and pessimism
- Sleep disturbances, lack of sleep or too much of sleep.
- Loss of appetite, weight loss or weight gain.
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts.
The mood swings are severe episodes of irritability to sadness and hopelessness, while shifting to the normal in between. High energy level is also noticeable.
Medications (like Anticonvulsant medications and Lithium) are available to stabilize the moods of Bipolar patients. Long term medications along with psychosocial treatment is seen to produce optimum results. Cognitive behavioral therapy would enable the patient to learn his negative behaviors. A person’s mood swings may lead to a crack in his social relationships and Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy can mend these for Bipolar patients.
It is the responsibility of the family and the society to help people with disabilities. The family should act as the supporting pillar to the patient understanding his disability without blaming him for it. A person with the disorder is unaware of his mental instability and needs great support and encouragement from the world around to go on.